Monday, April 4, 2011

Blueberry Hand Pies

I have been watching America's Next Restaurant where 3 investors are looking for a new fast food idea from contestants. One of the big things they seem to be looking for is something you can eat on the go.

There is one contestant that does not believe that people walk around and eat.  Well, in this busy society a lot of people do not have enough time for a sit down meal, so creating a move able feast has quite a bit of popularity.

I guess if we all believed like that contestant, there would be a number of  things that would not exist. There would be no reason to have sandwiches or burgers.  Also, food trucks would be unheard of. All the foods we would eat would have to be cut from piece of a bigger item.

Maybe it is not so much walking around, but the issue of food safety. Perhaps it's because of the horror stories about the restaurant buffet line, but getting that eighth or ninth piece of something that has sat out for awhile is not something I really want. I am sure you will agree that having something individually prepared is always safer.

These blueberry hand pies are great for lunchboxes and a snack on the go. With a flaky crust and a filling that is not too sweet (filling recipe only has 1/4 cup sugar), they hit the spot without being overly indulgent. If you are not worried about that, these pies can be served with ice cream. This recipe makes for 9 or 10 baked hand pies. Feel free to substitute any frozen berry of your choice.

Wild Blueberry Hand Pies
courtesy of A Southern Grace   
4 tbs buttermilk
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter (cold and cubed)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup flour
1 egg yolk
1 tbs water

1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 cups frozen blueberries (or raspberries, blackberries)

cinnamon & sugar
 or vanilla bean sugar (you can add ground vanilla to sugar or grind bean into sugar)

Prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.  Set aside.

To make the pie dough, sift together salt, sugar and flour in a large bowl.  Add the cubed butter and cut into flour mixture with pastry cutter or fork until it becomes sandy and crumbly in texture.

In a small bowl mix together the buttermilk and vanilla extract.  Then pour into dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed.  Roll dough into a ball and place on a big sheet of plastic wrap.  Flatten into a disk and cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge.  Set timer for 30 minutes.

When the timer goes off, set for another 30 minutes.  During this additional 30 minutes of chilling time, you will make the filling.  Take out a non stick pot and add all the filling ingredients.  Put pot over low heat and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure all ingredients are blended.  The berries will release all their the juices in about 4 minutes time.

Increase the heat to medium high and continue to stir.  The juice will thicken as you stir.  Once you can clear a gap in the bottom of the pot with your spoon without having the blueberry mixture running together to cover the gap, it is pie filling consistency.  Mine took about 7 minutes. Remove pot and pour filling into a heat proof bowl. Set aside.

After dough has chilled, take out half and roll onto a floured surface.  Roll it out big enough so you can cut out 5 circles that are 4-5 inches in diameter.  Cut the circles and save the scraps for patches, in case the blueberry filling runs out while you are forming the pies.

Place each circle on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Then put about 1 heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle of each circle.

In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolk and water to make egg wash.  Brush the egg wash on 1/2 of the rim of each pie dough piece.  Then fold over and seal edges.  You can do this by using a fork or sealing with fingertips.  I used my fingertips and stood the dough up like a taco to seal.  Then I laid the hand pie back on its side. This process helped keep the filling from oozing out.  Should some ooze out, do not forget about using the dough scraps to patch these areas.

Once the 5 pies are formed, place in fridge and set timer for 30 minutes.  Also, cover and place the bowl with the remaining egg wash in the fridge. Then preheat oven to 375 degrees.  As those pies are chilling, you can take the other half of the dough and form the rest of the pies as stated above.

When the timer goes off, take out the sheet with the first set of formed pies.  Cut 2 small slits in each..  Brush top and sides of pie with egg wash.  Then sprinkle on the topping.

Bake in oven for 16-18 minutes. Filling is bubbling and pie edges are toasted when done.  Let cool on pan for 5 minutes and transfer to rack to finish cooling.